paper dolls: part two THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2011
We cut out more paper dolls at our house this week. After finding these little printouts on Kiddley, we added sequins, ribbons, lace, fabric, and glitter; and the dolls came to life! I loved watching the dolls evolve - hair color determined, lips embellished, clothing detailed - and I especially loved listening to Amabel describe their personalities. Here are snippets of what I remember from her monologue: “Poppy is the pink doll: she is a chatterbox. Lavender is the blue doll: she is shy but she has the best dress. Now, Rose is the red doll; and she is the bossy one. No, mama, we can’t glue their clothes on. They need to be able to trade outfits and especially hats. You see, I can put Rose’s dress on this new doll with green makeup. Now she will be the bossy one and she will tell the others what to do.” In Amabel’s little dolly world, there was no shame in being “the bossy one.” In fact, the red dress was quite empowering and all the dolls were eager to try it on. Isn’t that a tad bit like real life - the excitement we feel in switching outfits and exercising different aspects of our personalities? And doesn’t that also reflect the inner life of the five-year-old: “When do I get to be the boss?” More and more I see Amabel learning from when and how I decide to take charge. I do a fair amount of letting go with my curious young children, watching them safely navigate their own way. But I also have a figurative red dress in my wardrobe - a demeanor that grants me authority. I don’t always use it wisely, but, when I do, I sense that Amabel is a little bit in awe of my command. Now and then I see her trying it out for herself - usually with her dearest friend and sister, Ellen. I can’t help but smile to myself as I watch her put on her own little red dress.